Multinational drug companies unveil investment and partnerships
Global pharmaceutical companies see growing investment opportunities in China, and have pledged to localize their production and research efforts.
Multinational drug companies have returned to the China International Import Expo and unveiled not only new exhibits, but also new investment plans and local partnerships to strengthen their presence in China.
The rapid proliferation of new drug discoveries with the potential to address unmet needs in the domestic market and beyond has boosted local research capabilities.
Leading bio-pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca earlier this month announced a latest investment of $450 million for a new manufacturing and supply base in Qingdao for an inhalation aerosol to treat pulmonary diseases.
With regional management headquarters set up in Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Guangzhou in the past few years, it banks on the vitality of Chinese economy and the strong influence of the CIIE.
Leon Wang, AstraZeneca's global executive vice president and China president, said it hopes to better leverage China's innovation capabilities and capital market to fuel the company's further growth.
The CIIE serves as an important platform for domestic innovative drugs and imported new medicines to find new partners and forge deeper ties.
The company doubled down on manufacturing capability as logistics support and continuity remained smooth in China despite pandemic restrictions, Wang added.
Its supply bases in Wuxi and Taizhou not only support China but also supply about 70 countries and regions around the world.
The latest McKinsey report shows China's share in the global innovative drug pipeline grew to 13.9 percent in 2020 from 4.1 percent in 2015. Local partnerships have become an essential part in multinational pharmaceutical companies' development plans in China.
Roche was joined by a league of members of the Roche Accelerator, a local startup incubator, to power domestic innovation at this year's CIIE.
Over the years, it has presented more than 30 innovative drugs and indications, and nearly half of them have been launched in China. The CIIE as an open platform has allowed the company to forge many partnerships with local health care providers.
Last year, with an investment of nearly 300 million yuan (US$41.7 million), Roche Accelerator was launched to empower local innovation.
Earlier this year, the Roche Group invested nearly 250 million yuan as working capital to expand its presence in China and benefit Chinese citizens.
A total of 11 local startups have been picked out from some 220 applicants to become members, and partnerships were reached on early research and development with Roche China Innovation Center at this year's CIIE.
Fosun Pharma Co's joint venture with Intuitive Surgical, a robotic surgery device manufacturer, announced a more than 700 million yuan (U$103.7 million) investment to build a manufacturing and innovation base in Shanghai.
It's expected to produce the da Vinci surgery robots for the Chinese market locally.
Many other medical devices and advanced treatment therapies imported by Fosun have benefited from the CIIE platform to achieve fast approval or commercial launch such as the radiation treatment system MRIdian Linac.
The Breas ventilator also located its domestic production base in Hainan Province following its debut at the 2020 CIIE. It also gained medical device registration approval from Hainan Province.
The market value of China-originated biotech companies grew from US$1 billion to US$180 billion from 2016 to 2021, according to a McKinsey study.
This also gave rise to high demand for testing, research equipment and life science related service to speed up the transition from lab works towards commercial products.
Illumina, a DNA sequencing and array-based technologies provider, is returning for the third time with its latest sequencer model NovaSeq X Plus with faster, more powerful and more sustainable sequencing.
It forged partnerships with more than two dozens of local clinical service and diagnosis solution providers over the weekend.
Genetic research in China is already at the top level and the gene sequencing market is highly promising, noted Li Qing, senior vice president and China general manager of Illumina.
"Speeding up localization is our most important strategy in China, and we hope to further deepen collaboration with precision medicine and health care management providers, and promote new applications of gene sequencing in many other fields," he added.
In August the company located its first site outside the United States and Singapore in Minhang District with an initial investment around 50 million yuan (US$7.8 million) in phase one.
It cited the city's favorable policies for the bio-pharma and life science industry as well as latest measures to retain high-end talent are very appealing.
Life science service provider Cytvia, which is part of Danaher's Life Sciences segment, announced it's investing US$8 million in its Shanghai facility to enhance research and customer services.
Cytvia China president Edward Zhou said it embodies the company's dedication to enhance local research ability and better serve domestic demand.
Covering 11,000 square meters, it would become Cytiva's largest biotech training center in Asia.
The upgraded facility will be four times as large as its current size to cover functions such as remote and intelligent customer services, training, bio-processing acceleration and technology innovation.